Introduction from Mr Thomas Psomas, Head of Primary

The ASG Philosophy of creating and developing students who are a Better Person and Better Learner, embedded in the context of an holistic education, continues to permeate throughout this period of virtual online learning.

Teaching staff continue to provide learning opportunities and challenge our students’ thinking by finding creative ways to deliver the curriculum without compromising on the intellectual rigour of the programs. During this time of online learning, our teachers and the wellbeing team have implemented activities that reinforce character values such as compassion, courage and respect. On a daily basis, teachers engage with our students to ensure they have a strong sense of emotional balance as they are supported in overcoming any challenges with a positive and self-reflective mindset. At a time when we are constantly bombarded with messages of self-isolation and maintaining social distancing, never has it been more prevalent for students to continue with their strong connection to our School, especially during this period leading up to one of the most inspiring and faith reaffirming days in the Orthodox calendar – the Dormition of the Theotokos on 15 August.

Whether it is face-to-face teaching or online learning, All Saints Grammar will always have a central focus on the wellbeing of our students, staff and parents. The recent surveys sent to students and parents provided valuable feedback that will be used to ensure that we meet the needs of our students. Our School Counsellors have provided some practical examples of what families can do to ensure wellbeing is addressed in this newsletter and, of course, students have access to Ms Mansergh and Ms Curtis.
At a time where students, staff and families are accessing teaching, learning and wellbeing online, All Saints Grammar will continue to prepare, engage, educate and respond to the wellbeing needs associated with learning from home.

Supporting Student Wellbeing During Online Learning: A practical guide by our School Counsellors, Ms J Mansergh & Ms S Curtis

Every family will have different, competing demands during the stay-at-home orders currently in place, and every family will have a different way of managing. Some tips to support the wellbeing of your children during this time include:

Open communication
Let each family member know:

  • how you will set up workspaces to give each other privacy
  • how you will be available to support online learning and when you cannot be interrupted
  • how you will let each other know when you need help
  • how to let each other know when something is or is not working well for them.

 

Attending homeroom
Homeroom provides an important start to the day, allowing students to check in with their friends and teacher. Homeroom teachers, with the support of the Wellbeing Team, are actively monitoring student wellbeing. Each week, our Homeroom groups are focusing on a specific aspect of self-care to help students manage in an online learning environment. It is important to ensure your child is ready and attending homeroom each day.

 

Monitor wellbeing
Look out for following signs in yourself and your family members:

  • irritability
  • withdrawing from family, friends or enjoyable activities
  • not joining in class or group activities
  • oversleeping or not being able to sleep well
  • feeling tired all the time
  • difficulty concentrating.

If you have concerns about your child, your first point of call is your child’s Homeroom teacher, who will follow up with the wellbeing team or the School Counsellors, Jo Mansergh and Sally Curtis. The School counsellors are available for student consultations via Zoom and can be contacted via email at: mansergh@allsaints.nsw.edu.au and curtis@allsaints.nsw.edu.au.

 

Maintain routines
As much as possible, try to keep to a normal routine for online schooling and working from home. It can be easy for work time, school time and home time to merge into one which may begin to feel overwhelming. It can be good to create routines to differentiate this time and support being able to ‘switch off’ from work or school time. Some ideas to support this could be:

  • Taking a walk around the block or exercising when you finish work/school to mimic your usual travel home time (whilst still obeying the COVID-19 restrictions).
  • Packing down your workspace at the end of your work day, closing computers and putting books away. You may even want to cover your station with a blanket.
  • Changing into different clothes for work or study time and home time.

 

Eat and sleep well and keep physically active
These are the most important things you can do to maintain your child’s and your own mental health. Engage regularly in family activities that:

  • are pleasurable, e.g., reading, drawing, watching a movie
  • give a sense of achievement, e.g., plant a garden bed, wash the car, the dog, the windows, prepare a meal
  • are sociable, e.g., playing board games, card games (anything not on a device), hosting a FaceTime afternoon tea with extended family members.

Remember, if you or your child need extra support, your child’s Wellbeing Facilitator or the School’s Counselling team are here to help. You can also find helpful tips to make the most of online learning, coping with lockdown and looking after yourself at www.kidshelpline.com.au.